Blood Is Compulsory: It’s Time to Buy (High) and Sell (Low)
Image Credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Brandon Aiyuk.

I can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and I can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and I can do you all three concurrent or consecutive, but I can’t do you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory—they’re all blood, you see.

– Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Week 1 brought a torrent of victories for the RotoViz community, but also the early termination of two key paths to million dollar glory. I hope everyone embraced the frequent beauty of the week and the wonder of football returning. I hope everyone is okay.

A Run That Instantly Transformed Itself to Myth

Sometimes hyperbole is the only rhetorical device up to a moment. And if two of your key players were Garrett Wilson and J.K. Dobbins, but you also have Breece Hall, then Monday night delivered not only more heartache, but also a reminder that we’re in the early stages of experiencing an all-time great.

What we saw on Monday night held a quality of the surreal: Hall taking his first carry for 26 yards, bursting through the line like I imagine Jim Brown did in days of yore; Hall sitting out the second drive, and then, after the Rodgers injury, taking his second carry and going 83 yards. You already know all of this, but I’m writing it down because the act makes the play come alive in memory and the goosebumps happen all over again.

For at least one night, Hall was the mix of David Johnson and Jonathan Taylor that we witnessed last season. Can it last? Will they emphasize him in the passing game now that Rodgers is gone? How quickly will they ramp up his workload? We don’t know. But for at least seven more days we can dream.

It’s just a single week, but eventually Hall has a chance to reach the fabled heights of Barry Sanders and Jamaal Charles, the two greatest backs of my lifetime.

Panic, But Also, Don’t Panic

If you drafted Drake London, Tee Higgins, or Christian Kirk in 2023, don’t worry. There’s some good news.

DeVonta Smith averaged 15.2 PPG last season and worked his way into the second-round conversation for 2023. He accomplished all of that after getting shut out in Week 1.

In fact, the RotoViz Screener gives us 12 prior campaigns this century where a WR scored five points or fewer in Week 1 and went on to score 250 or more in the 17-week season.

PLAYER TEAM SEAS Week 1 Full Season
Larry Fitzgerald ARI 2007 5 300.9
CeeDee Lamb DAL 2022 4.9 285.4
Cris Carter MIN 2000 4.6 275.3
Justin Jefferson MIN 2020 4.6 274.2
Drew Bennett TEN 2004 4.5 277.2
Jerry Rice OAK 2002 4.5 257.1
Lee Evans BUF 2006 4.5 259.2
Wes Welker NE 2012 4.4 291.4
Percy Harvin MIN 2011 4.2 265.6
Randy Moss MIN 2001 3.8 270.15
Allen Robinson II JAC 2015 3.7 304
Sidney Rice MIN 2009 3.7 262.2
Dwayne Bowe KC 2010 2.3 278.6
Plaxico Burress PIT 2002 2.1 254.5
Victor Cruz NYG 2011 0 289.9

If you’re wondering specifically how it looks for a second-year breakout (London), Allen Robinson disappointed in Week 1 of his second year but eventually totaled a whopping 304 points. Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss are both fourth-year examples (Higgins). The No. 2 in Cincinnati has not reached the level of Fitzgerald or Moss – nor do we expect him to – but he’s established enough to inspire little worry in the Bengals offense.

Of course, there are large differences in the situations for the three players. I love the talent for all three but was skeptical about the situations for London and Kirk. In Week 1, the situations weren’t bad, they were Beyond the Darkest Timeline.

Arthur Smith doesn’t just not care about getting his stars involved, he takes perverse pleasure in rubbing it in everyone’s face (as Ben and I discussed on Stealing Bananas).

In Jacksonville, the breadcrumbs pointed to Kirk being the odd man out, but I can understand savvy drafters betting the opposite considering his contract and impressive play last year. Unfortunately, he generated only 20 air yards in contrast to the 174 from Calvin Ridley and Zay Jones.

Higgins is the buy low of all buy lows, which suggests there will be little movement. There’s nothing wrong that some slightly more accurate passing, shaking off the rust, and generally just playing a little better won’t cure. With eight targets and 151 air yards, Higgins was actually one of the highest-volume WRs of the week. Of course, that’s no consolation if you lost in Week 1 due to the zero, especially if it was the combination of that goose egg and running up against the Dallas D, a confluence of events that took down our Chasing Stolen Bananas squad.

Don’t Underreact – The Buy Lows and Sell Highs . . . But Also the Buy Highs and Sell Lows

Make sure you check out the Bjorn’s look at the waiver wire: 14 Priority Pickups and 7 Stashes for Week 2. And don’t miss Mat Irby’s 5 Things That Matter (and 5 That Don’t).

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Shawn Siegele

Author of the original Zero RB article and 2013 NFFC Primetime Grand Champion. 11-time main event league winner. 2015, 2017, 2018 titles in MFL10 of Death.

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